Careless Memories

One thing most people in my life know about me is that I am a huge Duran Duran fan, and have been for about 35 years. It’s a love affair that began the first time I saw “Hungry Like the Wolf” on MTV. I was instantly drawn to Simon, not only because I thought he was very good looking, but partially because I thought he was the most “normal” looking in the group. And my sister liked Nick. So we could each have our own Duran.

My teen years, that tumultuous time when most people’s taste in music is formed, wrapped around the end of the 1970’s and the beginning of the 1980’s, so I basically came of age musically in an era that began with “Saturday Night Fever” and ended with Live Aid. There are a lot of music genres within that time frame, and because of Duran Duran, who were considered new wave at first (at least in the US), I began to listen to a lot of their contemporaries and influences. They introduced me to the likes of U2, Ultravox, New Order, The Cure, Roxy Music, Simple Minds, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Depeche Mode, David Bowie, and a host of others. It was a mind blowing and mind opening time which has essentially shaped my entire life. Even to this day my musical tastes tend to be more alternative.

Me (left) with my mom and my sister, circa 1985. Note my shirt.

My friends were into the same music, so any time one of these groups would come to town, we’d have to go see their concert. Tickets were a lot cheaper back then – each show was around $12-15, so even on a babysitter’s salary, they were affordable. In 1985, I think I saw around 15 concerts, which is utterly crazy to think about these days, especially with the price of tickets. A couple of years ago, I saw Duran Duran at DTE Music Theatre (sorry, but it’s still Pine Knob to me). I paid $130 each for my pavilion tickets, which is a lot of money for most people, and I only paid that much because it was Duran Duran. I’d like to go to more concerts because I think there’s nothing like seeing a band live, but the ticket prices are usually pretty prohibitive, and honestly, the bands/people I want to see just don’t come around very often (or they broke up. Or they’re dead. RIP David Bowie and Prince).

But Duran Duran was always #1. I loved – and still love – these guys. Back in the day, my friends and I would go to the local malls and buy anything and everything with the Duran Duran logo or our favorite band member’s picture on it. I had so many Duran Duran buttons on my denim jacket that my mom said if I ever fell I’d stab myself. I covered every inch of my walls with posters and pictures ripped from magazines, and if there was a tiny exposed inch, I’d find a small picture to put there. I had t-shirts, books, magazines, videos, a beer mug (!), a hat – you name it, I probably had it.

I still have some of that stuff, but it’s packed away in boxes for safe keeping. No Duran Duran wallpaper for me these days. And I no longer have them playing on my Walkman 24/7. That doesn’t mean I like them any less, just that, like the boys themselves, I have grown, evolved, matured. I remember telling my mom 35 years ago that I was going to be a Duran Duan fan for life. She said I’d probably grow out of it. Well, Mom, I haven’t. And here’s to another 35 years. Cheers.

My license plate. I’m a Detroit Red Wings fan, too.

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Saying Goodbye to a Friend

During the summer of 1984, we were all young, 17, 18 and 19 years old, barely out of high school and with a world of possibilities ahead of us. Lori, Maureen, Kim, Rick and I. Our lives revolved around our favorite music groups – Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Culture Club, Madness, OMD, UB40, Psychedelic Furs, Siouxie and the Banshees – going to concerts, buying records (yes, records) and hanging out together at Baker’s Square on 14 Mile and Schoenherr, which became our de facto headquarters. We were there so often, the staff knew us by name and we even had a regular waitress, Kirby (Don’t Call Me Kiersten). We had part time jobs but we managed to spend just about every evening together, whether at Baker’s Square, Putt Putt, the mall or at someone’s house, listening to music, playing games, going for walks, watching videos…whatever we felt like doing. It was a great time, almost perfect. Life was good.

These memories came flooding back Sunday night, on my way home from the Sarah McLachlan concert at Meadow Brook. I heard the text message alert on my phone go off but as I was still immersed in Sarah’s aura and talking with my friend and fellow Sarah fan, Mike (and not wanting to be rude), I decided to wait until I got home to check my messages. Besides, my phone was in dire need of a charge. So when I got home, I plugged my phone into the charger and looked at my messages. They were from Kim. My jaw dropped.

Rick was dead.

Oh my God, Rick died!

Oh my God, oh my God, OH MY GOD.

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